There are times when it really feels so rewarding, or at least, the perfect place to be. I know for myself, and for many other teachers I’ve spoken with, there are times when we go into the space and our own physical ailments recede. The space can be that powerful; to erase a migraine, quell nausea, clear the head, or stop the cramps (OK, haven’t experienced that one personally, but I’ve been told).
There are also times when it can be a struggle – when we aren’t taking care of ourselves, when we aren’t doing our practice, when we lose sight of or move away from intention, when it becomes a routine. Then, honestly, it can be very draining. So, it’s our role as yogis to be doing our practice, and as teachers, to be doing our practice, and not confusing teaching with practicing.
It’s a giving space; we come to serve – when you get to know yoga teachers, they are caring, loving, sharing, and into helping others. That’s the calling; not the paycheck, not the accolades, maybe the great benefit of going to work in your pajamas, but ultimately, because we care and want to help facilitate change and growth. We want to see folks flourish.
Now, the rub – we’re givers, servers, doers. We spend much of our day tending to and caring for others, sometimes complete strangers. All the great teachers I know ‘teach’ after the class is over, or before it even begins. We get single-focused, and end up talking to each other about it. Like great chefs, we create banquets and delicacies and nourishment all day – and we serve them. And, like foodies, it’s much of what we talk about all day.
Then, at the end of our day, fulfilled by contact and service and our experience and the fantastic ‘food’ we’ve made and served, many of us---this yogi first and foremost---find ourselves at home with our beloved or beloveds, and we simply cast them some scraps. No care, no service, basic nutrition perhaps, but not caringly presented, because we’ve already done that. Really, I’ll admit to my own horror, a lot of time I just go home and want to be left alone; but by the person I most love and want to be with?? Yogi, check yourself, because that is out of alignment.
Someone used this metaphor a month ago, and I owned it and have been observing the me that does this. He’s not who I’d like to be, and he’s not who I’d like to be with my best friend and partner. Lucky I got this thing called yoga that makes you think about these things, so I’m consciously working on being present in that relationship… my real yoga, my real union. It’s work, to be sure.
While you ponder that, now recognize, banquets all day for strangers and acquaintances, scraps for the beloved… at best, that leaves crumbs for you, for me, for the ‘cook’, for the giver. That is not acceptable, to be in a space where we martyr our lives and our relationships in some idealized version of service. Simply not sustainable, and verging on hypocrisy!
Get what I’m saying? Any of it taste like your experience? Willing to share your insights, your resolutions, your own methods or discipline of self-care? It’s time for those of us who hold space to allow some to be held for us?
Do you do that? Can you let go of giving and receive? Talk about it, start ‘portioning’ the food and sharing equally, and give thanks and praise.